Restoring old Photos

The art of restoring old and damaged photos has changed considerably from when black & white photos were touched up with pencils and repairs were limited to what was in the photo in the first place. Today almost anything is possible.


I've used some of our recent restorations as examples of the "almost anything is possible" statement. The colour 'baby' photo that led you here is an example of what most people restoring photos would coincide 'impossible' to restore. The colour information usually left in faded photos had totally disappeared from the original.

The usual way to restore colour in a faded photo is to use the software that comes with scanners (even cheap ones). Just select restore colour or similar from the scanning menu and the job is done. Not so with that baby photo. Several colours were totally missing from the photo and even my professional equipment could not detect anything but green. 20 years as a Photoshop master and an earlier 20 years running a professional photo lab gave me the ability to create colour where there was none.

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Why you should never, leave photos in contact with glass.


Framing Photos for display might seem like a simple task of buying a cheap frame from the bargain store and just slipping the photo in to replace the picture used to sell it. Its not such a good idea if you expect your photos will last for years.

The photo above graphically demonstrates why this is a really bad idea if you value the photo enough to have it enlarged in the first place. Nearly every department store offering 'enlargements' at prices too good to be true, use either gloss or satin (lustre) surface paper to print the enlargement. This may be great for 15ยข photo you get from a kiosk but for long lasting enlargements intended for framing... Not such a good idea.

If you intend to frame a photograph, you need at the very least a 'matte to keep it away from the glass. Why? Because the emulsion on the paper that makes it 'photo paper' also makes it stick to smooth surfaces. OK so now you need to stop the photo sagging from gravity. This calls for 'mounting' it to a backing board.

If a job is worth doing, its worth doing properly.

I've no idea who coined that phrase But it certainly fits well here

Mounting Photos...

Anything from contact cement to double sided photo mounts and proper acid free adhesive can be used for modern photos. The myth about photos needing acid free mounting died with the advent of modern photo paper that has a few microns thick plastic surface that resists acid migration. Acid free mounting is only needed for unprotected traditional photo paper... Rare as hens teeth now.

Ryadia has a vacuum mounting press. Perfect for mounting photos and posters. We use a special "E"va adhesive to permanently bond (mount) paper, canvas or photos to mounting board. Anything from foam core board (perfect for large prints) to craft-wood (normally used form small to medium prints) and plywood can be used. The value in using vacuum for mounting photos is in the removal of air bubbles dust is not a problem either.

We also have a heat press, Traditionally used to texture the surface of laminated prints during mounting. This system is not so popular now that canvas prints are freely available but in the 'Good old days', it was used to make intimation canvas photos. We use it today for making 'T' shirts and printing on fabric.

When we mount photos now, they are automatically vacuum mounted as our preferred way to guarantee no air bubbles are going to show up when the temperature changes.